------------------------------------------------------------------- DAWN WIRE SERVICE ------------------------------------------------------------------- Week Ending : 14 April 2001 Issue : 07/15 -------------------------------------------------------------------
Contents | National News | Business & Economy | Editorials & Features | Sports
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CONTENTS ===================================================================
NATIONAL NEWS + Ehtesab courts under high courts: counsel + Pakistan protests to Nepal: Diplomat expelled + Pakistan joins rank of poorest nations: WB + UK papers irrelevant, claims Asif Zardari + Dispute over Mangla Dam filling unresolved: Irsa to make a study + Ex-naval chief bail hearing on Monday + Benazir says she won'tbe PM in a flawed system + Govt ready to amend NAB law: counsel + Police to have new command structure + MQM, JSQM bid to stage hunger strike foiled again + Musharraf planning to replace Tarar as next president: report + Sindh to get more water: Accord with Punjab reached + Democracy to be facilitated: CE + Return not possible before May: Benazir + IMF asks govt to carry out strict economic reforms --------------------------------- BUSINESS & ECONOMY + CBR to speed up ST refund payments + Curbs on foreign ownership of commercial banks + Chinese team holds trade talks + More will be taxed next year: Slabs being reduced, says Shaukat + Clearance in 90 days 50-70pc demurrage waived on shipments + Rupee volatile in inter-bank market: Gains further in kerb + Conditional World Bank loan for gas pipelines + Textile manufacture exports drop by 3pc + Exports of merchandise fall short of target + Bandwidth tariffs further reduced + Rupee makes swift recovery --------------------------------------- EDITORIALS & FEATURES + Leghari and the storming Ardeshir Cowasjee + A midway balance sheet Ayaz Amir + The vandals of Wah Irfan Husain ----------- SPORTS + Pakistan complete double against Sri Lanka + Afridi's desert storm sets up easy win for Pakistan + Miandad, Moin served show cause notices

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NATIONAL NEWS
20010414
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Ehtesab courts under high courts: counsel
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Rafaqat Ali

ISLAMABAD, April 13: Abid Hasan Minto, counsel for the federation, 
stated in the Supreme Court on Friday that accountability courts 
were subordinate to the high courts and were not outside the 
existing judicial hierarchy.

Responding to the argument of the petitioners that the NAB 
ordinance had created a parallel judicial system as the 
accountability courts were not in the superintendence of the high 
courts, the federation's counsel said that it was a wrong 
impression.

"It was never said by the government that accountability courts 
were not subordinate to the high court. Let the high courts 
regulate the affairs of these courts," Abid Hasan Minto stated 
before the four-member bench hearing petiteness impugning the NAB 
ordinance.

All the accused of the NAB, he said, were entitled to invoke 
jurisdiction of the high court under Article 199 to redress their 
grievances.

Abid Minto concluded his argument on Friday, paving way for the 
conclusion of the case on the next date of hearing on Monday or 
Tuesday.

Responding to the argument that no qualification for the chairman 
of the NAB was prescribed, the counsel said that it was the duty of 
the president to appoint a right person to the post.

NAB, he said, was not the first organization where qualification of 
its head was not prescribed and cited the example of chairman Wapda 
whose qualification was also not prescribed.

The counsel, while replying to the argument of discrimination, 
argued that only a limited number of people in active service of 
armed forces were exempted from the application of the law. He said 
that serving personnel of the armed forces were covered under Army 
Act and the moment they resigned, retired, or dismissed from 
service, the NAB law would become applicable.

He also referred to Article 199(3) under which the armed forces 
were exempted from application of other laws. The counsel said that 
he was under instruction to say that the application of the NAB law 
was on "person" and the definition of person was wide enough to 
cover any person.

Abid Hasan Minto said that such a law was never made in the past 
under which accountability was not only being done, but was also 
seen to be being done. Members of all classes of society were being 
tried under the law including politicians, bureaucrats and retired 
army officers.

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20010414
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Pakistan protests to Nepal: Diplomat expelled
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KATHMANDU, April 13: Nepal on Friday expelled a Pakistani diplomat 
who was detained in connection with the alleged seizure of 
explosives from a house in Kathmandu.

The Nepali Foreign Ministry ordered Mohammad Arshad Cheema, first 
secretary at the Pakistan embassy, to leave the kingdom by 
Saturday.

Police said on Thursday they had recovered 16.2kg of powerful 
explosives from a house in Kathmandu and detained Cheema and his 
wife.

"Since it is incompatible with his diplomatic duties and 
inconsistent with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, 
HMG (His Majesty's Government of Nepal) has decided that Mr Cheema 
should leave the country within 24 hours," the Nepalese Foreign 
Ministry said in a statement.

An official of the ministry told Reuters that Cheema's wife had not 
been expelled, since she was not a diplomat, but added that she 
would be returning to Pakistan with her husband.

Earlier, Pakistan had lodged a protest on Friday with Nepal over 
the detention of Mr Cheema and his wife in Kathmandu on Thursday.

"The Nepalese ambassador was called this morning to the Foreign 
Ministry to receive a note of protest. It was pointed out to him 
that the detention of Mr and Mrs Cheema and the denial of access to 
him is contrary to Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on 
Diplomatic Relations and of accepted diplomatic norms and 
practices," a spokesman of Pakistan's Foreign Office had said in a 
statement. "The Nepalese government was also requested for the 
immediate release of Mr and Mrs Cheema to enable them to return to 
Pakistan at the earliest," the statement said.

"It is evident that elements hostile to Pakistan are responsible 
for this unfortunate episode. We are confident that the government 
of Nepal would not allow such designs to succeed," the statement 
had said.

DENIAL: Mr Mohammad Arshad Cheema denied on Friday that the seized 
explosives belonged to him, a Nepalese home ministry official said.
-Agencies

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20010414
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Pakistan joins rank of poorest nations: WB
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Correspondent

WASHINGTON, April 13: The economies of Pakistan and Ukraine have 
declined so much during the past decade that they are now among the 
world's poorest nations, while China has surged out of the lowest-
income category, according to the World Bank.

But Pakistan has said it has no plans to seek extraordinary debt 
relief under the World Bank-run Heavily Indebted Poor Countries 
Initiative, the Bloomberg news service said on Friday in a despatch 
based on the World Bank report that was released on April 10 
(partly published in Dawn on April 11).

If Pakistan agrees to be declared as a poor country, it will lose 
access to the capital market and will become dependent on 
concessional loans.

But, Bloomberg says, Pakistan also wants to obtain new credits at 
below-market rates, and quotes the economics minister at the 
Pakistan embassy here as saying: "It's very important that in this 
short-term, critical period Pakistan should be given additional 
concessional funding. We need it."

In the World Bank's estimation, Pakistan joins countries like 
Rwanda and Nicaragua, which are so impoverished they are eligible 
to have hundreds of millions of dollars in loans forgiven by the 
World Bank and other creditors.

How to resolve the dilemma of being poor and yet seeking not to be 
formally declared as such so that Pakistan does not lose its 
eligibility for international loans confronts the country's 
economic decision-makers with their biggest challenge.

Pakistan's $26-billion debt burden reflects what World Bank chief 
economist Nicholas Stern has called the country's "lost decade" of 
the 1990s, when, according to him, poor policies, political 
instability and corruption stalled the economy.

CHINA: China, which averaged more than 10 per cent growth annually 
during the past 20 years, has now moved out of the lowest-income 
category, the bank report says.

Chinese officials say they worry that the higher status may mean 
they will have a harder time getting new loans from the World Bank. 
Even as the percentage of people living on $1 a day fell from 80 
per cent two decades ago to 12% today.

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20010414
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UK papers irrelevant, claims Asif Zardari
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Nasir Iqbal

RAWALPINDI April 13: Asif Ali Zardari said on Friday that the 
inquiry documents released by the Bow Street magistrate in London, 
were "irrelevant" and serve no government purpose.

Talking to reporters here at the accountability court after the 
hearing in the Pakistan Steel Mills reference, Mr Zardari said that 
the government would not be able to use these documents as they 
would not stand the test in any court.

This was an indirect reference that the Bow street magistrate had 
only recorded the statements of witnesses and none of them had been 
cross-examined.

The British government on Wednesday released 22,000-page documents 
collected by the magistrate during an inquiry into the assets of Mr 
Zardari in UK.

"I have been booked under drug charges only because every (foreign) 
government was bound to respond whenever a case of drug trafficking 
was referred to them," he explained.

He was of the view that NAB officials would not be able to bring 
Admiral (retd) Mansoorul Haq back to the country because of legal 
hitches involved.

Asked to comment on the statement of former Ehtesab Bureau chief 
Saifur Rehman, claiming that he had not sought any apology, Mr 
Zardari said, "if he had not come to me to seek apology, why did he 
come to me?"

Asif Zardari appreciated the "belated resolution" of water dispute 
between Sindh and Punjab saying Sindh should have been provided 
relief much earlier.

"Had the decision reached a month ago, the controversy would not 
have invited so much controversy," observed Asif Zardari.

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20010413
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Dispute over Mangla Dam filling unresolved: IRSA to make a study
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Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, April 12: Indus River System Authority will carry out a 
study for settling a dispute between Sindh and Punjab over the 
question of storing water in Mangla reservoir.

Officials of the two provinces at a meeting of IRSA's technical 
committee today took totally different positions on the issue of 
filling Mangla for meeting irrigation demands in late Kharif and 
next Rabi crop.

IRSA decided that a study should be carried out whether the storing 
water in Mangla was necessary for meeting future requirements and 
the report would be presented before the advisory council within 
two weeks, Secretary IRSA Sohail Ali Khan told reporters.

Sindh government was of the view that Mangla dam should not be 
filled and the water coming down in river Jehlum should be used for 
meeting irrigation requirements of the provinces, Mr. Khan said

Punjab insisted that if water was not stored in Mangla, they would 
have no water to supply to the growers in late Kharif and in early 
Rabi season, he added. Punjab government wanted that at least 80 
percent of the dam should be filled up till June 30.

Mr. Khan said that the technical committee finalized water 
distribution plan for the Kharif season keeping in view the 
agreement reached at between Punjab and Sindh on providing 
additional water to later till April 25.

The issue of storing water in Mangla had earlier been taken up at a 
meeting of the irrigation secretaries of the two provinces in 
Karachi but they failed to resolve the issue, he said.

The technical committee which was attended by the Irrigation 
Secretary Sindh Idress Rajput, Consultant to Punjab Government M.H. 
Siddique, Chief Engineer Balochistan, Superintending Engineer NWFP, 
Chief Engineering Advisor and a Wapda representatives also held 
indepth discussion on tele-metric system to be installed at 
barrages for monitoring water discharges.

The representatives of the four provinces unanimously decided that 
it should be based on satellite communication instead of meteor 
dust communication.

Giving the data of water utilised by the four provinces in the 
first 10 days of April, he said, Punjab got 12,300 cusecs, 78 
percent short of its allotted quota of 56,400 cusecs. Sindh 
received 10,600 cusecs about 69 percent less than its quota of 
34,000 cusecs.

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20010413
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Ex-naval chief bail hearing on Monday
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Correspondent

WASHINGTON, April 12: Former Pakistan Navy chief Mansurul Haq, who 
was taken into custody by US authorities on Wednesday, will face 
bail hearing on Monday, with extradition proceedings to follow 
according to legal formalities.

Admiral Haq, whose arrest and extradition is sought by Pakistan in 
connection with alleged kickback charges in the abortive Agosta 
submarine deal, was rounded up by federal marshal agents in Austin, 
Texas, and is in the provisional custody of the marshals' office 
there. 

 Bail hearing will be held in that city, before a magistrate's 
court.

Extradition proceedings, whenever they take place, will also be 
conducted in Austin, but before a federal court.

The ex-naval chief's detention, announced by the National 
Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Islamabad on Wednesday night, was 
confirmed on Thursday by both the US Justice Department and the 
Pakistan Embassy. The US State Department, asked for a comment, 
reiterated in general terms that US officials had been providing 
ongoing assistance to their Pakistani counterparts, including NAB, 
regarding white-collar and financial crime in accordance with 
bilateral arrangements and international practices.

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20010413
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Benazir says she won'tbe PM in a flawed system
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Jawed Naqvi

NEW DELHI, April 12: Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was 
quoted on Thursday as telling an Indian newspaper that she wanted 
to get back in the business of running her country again but ruled 
out even trying to regain her former job as premier if Pakistan's 
evolving political system did not comply with democratic norms.

"I certainly envisage myself running for becoming Prime Minister," 
Benazir Bhutto was quoted as telling Delhi's Asian Age newspaper in 
London. "But if it is to go back to the flawed system of the past 
then I would be setting myself for failure. I would rather be away 
from a flawed system."

The Age quoted Ms Bhutto as refusing to become a "pawn in the hands 
of others who set the agenda."

The newspaper said should Gen Pervez Musharraf succeed in changing 
Pakistan's Constitution and becomes president with the power to 
appoint or dismiss governments and the National Assembly then 
Benazir Bhutto would have to opt out.

Benazir Bhutto had not spelt out her plans to return to Pakistan 
from her self-imposed exile but had told her supporters that she 
would like to be a "part of a mass movement for the restoration of 
democracy" in Pakistan.

Her remarks come on the heels of reports of a division within the 
party over her feelers for coming home. A joint meeting of the CEC 
on Saturday discussed the issue threadbare but could not evolve a 
consensus.

However, the meeting decided to send a delegation to London by 
April 17 to apprise Ms Bhutto of the situation in the country.

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20010413
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Govt ready to amend NAB law: counsel
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Rafaqat Ali

ISLAMABAD, April 12: Abid Hasan Minto, counsel for the federation, 
stated before the Supreme Court on Thursday that the federal 
government was ready to amend the NAB law, and would welcome 
court's advice to make the law more effective, specially when the 
parliament was not in existence.

Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan, who is heading the four-member SC 
bench hearing petitions challenging the NAB ordinance, observed 
that court appreciated the government gesture for the improvement 
of the law, but made it clear that court was not dependent on the 
"concessions".

The CJ said that the court had powers to pass any order under 
Article 187 of the Constitution to do justice and was not dependent 
on the government concessions.

"Once the court seizes of a matter its power to decide the matter 
becomes unlimited. We are answerable to our conscience and know the 
economic condition of the country. We do not want to be a party to 
the deterioration of economic conditions," the CJ observed.

The CJ observed that it was the duty of the court to interpret the 
laws. The court does not want any concessions as the court has 
inherent power to direct the federation for filling the lacunas in 
the law.

Recovery of bank loans, the CJ said, was very serious matter and 
asked the NAB authorities to bring complete record of what had been 
recovered so far through the AC orders and plea-bargain.

Initiating arguments in defence of NAB ordinance, Abid Hasan Minto 
conceded that NAB law was "harsh" but added that it was promulgated 
to meet an extraordinary situation.

The counsel said that he would not raise technical objections and 
would welcome the contribution of the court and counsel for the 
improvement of the NAB law, specially when the parliament was not 
in existence.

The counsel said that the apex court in its judgment, validating 
the military takeover, had held that it was time to make some 
deviations.

On a court query, the counsel said that he was not saying that the 
NAB law was temporary and would go out of statutes, after some 
time. "It is permanent legal instrument to deal with the menace of 
corruption, but the government is willing to invite objection for 
improving the law."

The counsel said that the proposal of a lawyer that before 
promulgation, the government should have elicited public opinion 
was not practicable as the defaulters would have run away from the 
scene to save themselves from the law.

Explaining why he decided to defend the law, Abid Hasan Minto said 
that he believed that a law to weed-out corruption was required. He 
said Aitezaz Ahsan, counsel for Nawaz Sharif, had said that cannon 
should not be fired to kill a fly.

"If these are flies, what will be the wretched of earth. Are they 
not a menace for the society."

The counsel said that the law might be draconian but what mattered 
most was whether it was hitting the nail or not. About the 
selective application of the law, the counsel said that it was a 
dilemma that investors were also involved in the white-collar 
crime.

The counsel said that the NAB ordinance had been amended from time 
to time after getting public view. All earlier laws failed to 
combat corruption as the influentials manipulated the things in a 
way that these laws were made ineffective, he said.

He said elites of the society, wielding immense influence, were 
involved in white-collar crimes. He referred to a number of SC 
judgments, in which the menace of corruption was highlighted.

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20010412
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Police to have new command structure
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Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, April 11: The federal cabinet on Wednesday took a number 
of important decisions including the setting up of an Independent 
Public Safety Commission at the national level to ensure "political 
neutrality" of all police operations.

The meeting which was presided over by Chief Executive Gen Pervez 
Musharraf, also decided to recover illegal arms by introducing 
harsh punishments and heavy fines.

"We know that previously people did not surrender even one per cent 
of illegal arms. But it will not happen this time as we are going 
to be very tough against those possessing illegal arms," declared 
Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider.

Speaking at a news conference, he said the cabinet expressed 
serious concern over the existence of thousands of illegal weapons 
in all the four provinces. Initially, the government would launch a 
campaign in print and electronic media asking the people to 
surrender their illegally arms. "And in case they do not do so, as 
was the case previously, then we will use all our force in order to 
reform society," he said.

"We also plan to undertake a massive search operation to recover 
these illegal weapons," he said, adding that those who possessed 
legal and licensed arms would not be touched.

He said a decision has also been taken by the cabinet that special 
rewards would be given to those police personnel who would help 
recover these illegal arms. The minister said the cabinet decided 
to set up an Independent Public Safety Commission at the national 
level to insulate the police from extraneous interference and to 
ensure political neutrality of its operations.

He said the Commission would recommend panels of suitable PSP 
officers in consultation with the Provincial Public Safety 
Commission for appointment of Provincial Police Chiefs and also for 
chiefs of Federal Police Forces to be appointed by the federal 
government.

No head of a police force/law enforcement agency will be removed 
prematurely, except on the recommendation of the National Public 
Safety Commission. Before making such recommendation, the officer 
concerned will be heard by the Commission, he added.

The provincial governments will also establish Provincial Public 
Safety Commissions, he said.

The minister said that dedicated police force would be set up in 
the capital city districts of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar 
and Quetta.

He said a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) will be established in 
each province and for the federal capital territory. The authority 
will be responsible for dealing with serious complaints of police 
misconduct, in particular, complaints alleging rape, torture and 
custodial deaths, he added.

The minister said an Independent Prosecution Service will be 
established in each province, as also in relation to the police/law 
enforcement agencies of the federal government.

A Criminal Justice Co-ordination Committee will be established in 
each district headed by the district and sessions judge.

The police force in each district will be organized on functional 
basis. In particular, the function of investigation will be 
separated from law and order. The investigation staff will be 
placed under the operational control of SP/ASP in-charge of 
investigations in the district. The officers of the investigation 
branch will wear uniform distinct from that of the law and other 
branch, the minister added.

Recruitment in police will be done only at the level of ASP, ASI 
and Constable, while the direct recruitment of ASIs will be done up 
to 25 per cent of vacancies by the respective Public Service 
Commissions, he added.

The minister said that adequate funds for building of police 
stations, police lines and offices would be provided by the 
government under a phased programme.

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20010412
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MQM, JSQM bid to stage hunger strike foiled again
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Habib Khan Ghori

KARACHI, April 11: Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Jeay Sindh Qaumi 
Mahaz again tried to stage hunger strike on Wednesday to protest 
against water shortage and injustices in Sindh but the law 
enforcement agencies foiled their attempt and nabbed their leaders 
before they could assemble at the Karachi Press Club.

About 40 people were arrested including Hasan Musanna Alvi and Dr 
Arif Rizmi of MQM, and Maula Bux Memon and Ghulam Nabi Kathio of 
JSQM. The wife of MQM's deputy convener Aftab Shaikh was among 20 
women who were whisked away in police mobiles.

Undeterred by the arrests, the leaders of MQM and JSQM have 
announced that they would continue their protest by staging another 
hunger strike in front of the KPC on Thursday.

The protesters when appeared on Sarwar Shaheed Road were raising 
slogans in Urdu and Sindhi languages demanding an end to water 
shortage in the province. The LEA personnel, like yesterday, had 
again cordoned off the roads leading to the Karachi Press Club and 
barriers were erected on both entrances of the road in front of the 
club and heavy police force was deployed in the vicinity along with 
the district administration.

According to the MQM, the women protesters in particular were 
mercilessly roughed up by women police. They did not spare even an 
aged lady Kaneez Fatima, 65, who became unconscious when being 
taken in a mobile.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain, in a statement condemned the arrests and 
oppression against peaceful protesters of MQM and JSQM leaders and 
their supporters.

He said people had been demanding nothing but water but they were 
being targeted to crush their voice by force.

Mr Hussain warned the "prejudiced establishment" to refrain from 
using force to crush the voice for rights and desist from pushing 
the people of Sindh to the wall.

Demanding release of all those arrested, he eulogised the spirit 
and sacrifices of MQM and JSQM activists and leaders for facing the 
oppression with courage and determination.

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20010411
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Musharraf planning to replace Tarar as next president: report
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Correspondent

NEW YORK, April 10: General Pervez Musharraf is planning to replace 
President Rafiq Tarar as the next president of Pakistan as part of 
his long-term strategy to legitimize army's role in any future 
government, reports Jane's Defence Weekly in its latest edition.

The weekly says that "it has been argued that this would not only 
ensure continuity of the policies initiated by the military regime, 
but would also formalize the army's role in the future government, 
as well as giving the military rulers protection from any future 
political action against them by a successor government."

The magazine says, "Furthermore, independent intelligence reports 
suggest that Musharraf is considering amending the Constitution to 
assume more presidential power. There are already indications that 
the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution - which gives 
discretionary powers to the president to dismiss the government and 
dissolve the National Assembly - may be revived in a modified 
form."

The Supreme Court has allowed the military regime to make 
constitutional amendments, even though they still require final 
ratification by the National Assembly.

"The need to achieve formal approval for the constitutional 
amendments has necessitated a search for a political partner for 
the military regime. Like his predecessors Ayub and Zia, Musharraf 
has opted to cultivate the dissident faction of the Pakistan Muslim 
League for this purpose. 

It was against this background that the military regime helped the 
dissidents to take over by force the Pakistan Muslim League's 
offices in Islamabad and Lahore," the report adds.

"There is little doubt that the politicians would be playing the 
role of a junior partner in a future political-military alliance. 
Musharraf's devolution plan is part of the overall strategy to 
create an obedient political class. 

"The military regime expects that the new leadership emerging from 
local elections would provide much-needed political support, which 
could also be utilized for wider political roles. This is the tried 
and tested method used by both Ayub and Zia, and now another 
general seems set to follow it."

The weekly notes that "simultaneously, Musharraf is trying to get 
international backing for both himself and for his regime by 
attempting to promote the view that should he fail, the consequence 
could be a Taliban-style revolution in Pakistan with disastrous 
consequences for Western interests in the region.

To allay Western concerns, the military regime has broken off some 
of its links with the Taliban leadership, closed a number of 
dubious training camps on the border with Afghanistan, and 
restricted the activities of the jihadi organizations in Pakistan."

Similarly, by making positive moves towards achieving a solution to 
the Kashmir problem, the weekly says, Musharraf is further trying 
to improve his image before the rest of the world. He is well aware 
of the fact that the West would be more likely to tolerate his 
regime in Islamabad if it could contribute to the peace process in 
Kashmir.

It says Musharraf also appears determined to get rid of major 
political figures in the country who may challenge his position in 
the near future. This policy has become apparent with the military 
regime amending the Political Parties Act of 1962 in order to oust, 
convict and disqualify rival politicians.

With ousted premier Nawaz Sharif (as well as Benazir Bhutto and 
Altaf Hussain) already in exile, the general has bought himself 
both more time and space for political manoeuvring, it adds.

Moreover, by gradually consolidating his control over Pakistan's 
nuclear weapons, the general has enhanced his position in terms 
both of international bargaining and of fighting off his opponents 
within Pakistan, it says.

The weekly concludes, "As the military regime enters into the 
second half of the time scale set by the Supreme Court to restore 
democracy, Musharraf's end game is beginning to unfold. If 
everything goes according to plan, based on past experience and 
recent developments, the general may manage to reinvent himself as 
a civilian ruler, just like Pakistan's previous military dictators. 
How long he can survive may be a very different matter."

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20010410
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Sindh to get more water: Accord with Punjab reached
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Faraz Hashmi

ISLAMABAD, April 9: Sindh and Punjab reached an agreement on Monday 
over supply of more water to the former from the Indus than its 
quota alloted under the Kharif plan.

The agreement was reached between the irrigation secretaries of the 
two provinces here at the chief executive's secretariat after day-
long deliberations, official sources said.

The seretaries had been called to the secretariat after the failure 
of their talks held at the Punjab House on Sunday.

Under the new arrangement, Punjab would not draw more than 5,000 
cusecs and leave the rest for Sindh till April 25, the sources 
said.

The 5,000 cusecs, which would be drawn by Punjab from the Indus 
till April 25, would be enough only to meet drinking water 
requirement of Dera Ghazi Khan and Bhawalpur districts, the source 
added.

The supply of irrigation water to Sindh would significantly improve 
as it would immediately increase from 13,000 cusecs a day to 17,500 
cusecs a day.

However, because of gradual rise in temperature at Skardu, 
officials of both the provinces were expecting further increase in 
the flow in the Indus and Kabul rivers, the sources said.

According to the IRSA figures, 25,000 cusecs was flowing down the 
Indus and Indus rivers. Out of which, 2,500 was the share of NWFP, 
5,000 cusecs would be drawn by Punjab and the rest would be 
supplied to Sindh from Tuesday onwards.

"People and the government of Sindh are thankful to Chief 
Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf for taking personal interest and 
accepting our demand for the supply of additional water," the 
Minister for Irrigation, Sindh, Hassan Ali Chanio, told reporters 
at the Sindh House.

The Punjab government had earlier refused to entertain the Sindh 
government's request for the supply of additional water from the 
Indus zone.

Sindh had been demanding at least 5,000 cusecs over and above its 
share fixed under the Kharif plan, on the basis of ratio of 
historical distribution records.

Mr Chanio said that with the supply of additional water, about 
250,000 acres would come under cotton cultivation and about 100,000 
haris would get jobs. Sindh cotton yield would increase to 50,000 
bales, he added.

The Irrigation Secretary, Sindh, Idress Rajput, who was also 
present at the Sindh House, said that they had demanded additional 
5,000 cusecs on humanitarian grounds and not as a matter of right.

Asked whether the issue of water distribution on the basis of 1991 
Accord had also come under discussion, he said that since it was a 
controversial issue they had not raised it.

Replying to a question, Mr Rajput said Sindh had not given up its 
stand that water should be distributed among the provinces 
according to the proportion fixed in the 1991 Accord.

The additional water, which would be supplied to Sindh from Tuesday 
would not be later deducted by the Punjab government from Sindh's 
share, he added.

Soomro thanks CE: Sindh Governor, Muhammedmian Soomro, has thanked 
Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf and Governor Punjab, Lt Gen 
Muhammed Safdar, for taking care of the requirements of Sindh 
province in the present situation of water shortage in Sindh, adds 
APP.

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20010409 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Democracy to be facilitated: CE
-------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW DELHI, April 8: Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf has 
said he and his government wants to build a civil structure to see 
democracy and institutions flourish in Pakistan.

In an interview with senior editor of an Indian national daily The 
Asian Age, M. J. Akbar whose second and last portion was published 
in the paper Sunday, Gen Musharraf said there is a monitoring 
system on ground run by the army and all institutions at the ground 
level and everywhere are being watched.

"They are being guided wherever required," he added.

He said in the previous martial laws or anywhere in the world, the 
army comes and superimposes itself on the civil structure. And when 
it goes, civil structure remains at that level, he added.

"I thought the requirement is, if at all we don't want martial laws 
in the future, we want to build this civil structure, we want 
democracy to flourish here, we need to build these institution. So, 
let's not get over that. Let's see them from the side and that is 
why I created this monitoring system," he stated.

"So...I thought I shouldn't call myself Chief Martial Law 
Administrator. And, therefore, somebody suggested the best is chief 
executive and that was that," he told the interviewer.

With regard to bringing back political system, he said his 
government will bring more honest politicians. They (dishonest) are 
trying their best.

He said it is the system which corrupts more. If there is a correct 
system with checks and balances with accountability, with 
monitoring, it will not allow people to be corrupt.

He added, "but I am certainly not meaning that I'll be able to 
eradicate corruption totally. That's a far cry," he went on to say.

Regarding the legality of his position, chief executive said, 
"Well, legality has been given to us by the Supreme Court...in the 
Supreme Court decision... Whatever happened on October 12 (when the 
army took over) has been validated.-APP

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20010409 
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Return not possible before May: Benazir
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, April 8: The former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, has 
expressed pleasure over the Supreme Court's verdict in which it has 
set aside her conviction in a corruption case.

The court has ordered a retrial of the case. But, Ms Bhutto says, 
she does not intend to go to Pakistan immediately, VOA reported.

She said: "I am very happy over the judgment. The Supreme Court has 
upheld my appeal and set aside the conviction. I am happy for 
myself but happier for my nation. For the first time, the Supreme 
Court has acquitted or suspended the conviction of a former prime 
minister when the country is under martial law. I think this is an 
important day in the nation's history."

Answering a question about her return to Pakistan, she said: "We 
are monitoring the situation; we will have to see as to what 
decision the military government will take about Asif Ali Zardari. 
He has completed his jail term. The SC has set aside the 
conviction. Now we will have to see whether they respect the law or 
resort to victimization. The military government will have to 
review its policies. The government has 18 months to hold 
elections. They cannot convict me in 18 months."

Referring to a question about her opponents in the army, the former 
prime minister said those who wanted to remove the PPP leadership 
were opposing the party. "They are in fact opposing the masses. 
This opposition is creating instability in the country."

When asked about giving a call to the masses to come to streets 
against the government, Ms Bhutto said the Alliance for Restoration 
of Democracy had to take such a decision. "On my own behalf and on 
behalf of my party, I have said that Chief Executive Gen Pervez 
Musharraf should hold talks with the ARD so that an interim 
government could be set up which could hold free elections for 
transfer of powers."-NNI

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20010411
-------------------------------------------------------------------
IMF asks govt to carry out strict economic reforms
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, April 10: The IMF has laid down a strict economic 
performance criteria to offer $2 to $2.5 billion poverty reduction 
growth facility (PRGF) that also includes more allocations for 
social sectors in the next budget and implementing a structural 
reform programme in CBR, banks, Wapda, KESC, and deregulating the 
whole petroleum sector.

Sources in the multilateral agencies said here on Tuesday that the 
government had been asked to carry out certain effective reform 
programmes in the budget for 2001-2002 to qualify for the three-
year PRGF after the expiry of $596 million standby arrangement 
(SBA) in September this year.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz would leave for Washington in the 
third week of this month to negotiate PRGF, and also seek six 
billion dollars exceptional financing from the international donors 
to pay off $21 billion foreign debt during the next four years.

Pakistan was being asked to address some of the weak areas, 
specially revenue collection. The fund's officials believed that 
Pakistan would have to manage Rs400 billion plus revenues by June 
this year. They were of the view that in the first place the 
military government should make sure that the revised target of 
Rs417 billion was met.

"So far Pakistan has observed all the performance criteria except 
revenues," a source said, adding that it was the greatest challenge 
for the government to manage revenue shortfalls through new 
administrative reforms.

"Corruption is the product of the system and this system has to be 
improved and changed in the CBR," he further stated.

Sources said the government needed to introduce severe punishments 
for corrupt employees and that these punishment should work as 
"deterrent" for future.

For the current financial year, the IMF expected the government to 
achieve 5.3 per cent fiscal deficit, foreign exchange reserves 
level at $1.5 billion by June next, excluding $800 million foreign 
currency deposits, and maintain price stability.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY
20010414
-------------------------------------------------------------------
CBR to speed up ST refund payments
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Nasir Jamal

LAHORE, April 13: The payment of sales tax refund claims is likely 
to speed up from Monday, says a senior Central Board of Revenue 
(CBR) official.

Speaking to this reporter here on Friday, CBR member (tax policy) 
Vakil Ahmed Khan said all the snags in the way of refund of sales 
tax by the exporters are being removed and the process of payment 
against their claims will gather speed from the start of the next 
week.

He said the clearance of sales tax refunds was delayed because of 
some difficulties in the verification of documents provided to the 
authorities with the refund claims.

We are trying to put in place a (computerized) network for the 
verification of the documents for which software has already been 
developed, Khan said. The whole process of networking will take a 
couple of months, making it easier for the authorities to inspect 
and verify the documents and allow refund against the claims.

He claimed that the CBR had so far paid Rs3 billion - or Rs43 
billion - more than last year's about Rs40 billion in sales tax, 
income tax and customs duty refunds.

Meanwhile, the Lahore Collectorate of Sales Tax claims to have paid 
Rs568.440 million in sales tax refunds between March 1-April 13 out 
of the sanctioned amount of Rs842.720 million. In January, 
collectorate had paid Rs1.100 billion in sales tax refunds. Since 
it was done at a great speed, we had to "slow down" after that to 
reconcile our own record to verify that excess funds had not been 
released, said a senior official.

Lahore collector sales tax Umer Farooq asserted that the major 
factor "slowing down" payments of sales tax refunds was exporters 
inability to "provide adequate proof that the export proceeds had 
been brought to the country". Few people claiming refunds provide 
documentary evidence to this effect, he added. Another factor, he 
said, was absence of other documents (required under the SRO 417) 
along with the claims filed for refund.

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20010414
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Curbs on foreign ownership of commercial banks
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jawaid Bokhari

KARACHI, April 13: The World Bank has advised Pakistan that 
reputable foreign strategic investors should be treated at par with 
domestic bidders in the privatization of nationalized commercial 
banks with large networks.

If foreign banks with funds, global expertise and latest technology 
are interested in leading institutions like Habib Bank, their bid 
should be considered on merit. And no restrictions should be 
applied on foreign ownership of commercial banks if the foreign 
strategic buyer is capable of managing a turn-around in the 
acquired bank.

World Bank sources were asked to comment on reports that WB-
sponsored banking reforms stipulated removal of restrictions on 
foreign ownership of commercial banks.

Pakistan allows 100 per cent foreign ownership of industrial and 
other sectors. In the field of banking, the question of ownership 
is decided by the State Bank on what is described as merit of each 
case and on case by case basis. Sources said that the WB did not 
see any justification for denying 100 per cent foreign ownership of 
commercial banks.

Banking sources say that the previous government had restricted 
foreign ownership to 49 per cent in case of large nationalized 
commercial banks, considered strategic assets. This decision 
followed an understanding with WTO, they added.

WB holds the view that the State Bank enjoys far greater controls 
over banks incorporated in Pakistan than branches of foreign banks 
operating in the country. The leverages with the regulators are 
more than what is needed to safeguard strategic interests. If 
foreigners want majority stakes, or local joint venture partners, 
there should not be any restrictions.

WB sources said that WTO does not prescribe any ratio for local or 
foreign ownership. It only lays down that ratio of stake allowed to 
one country should not be denied to any other country. The 
concessions should be made on reciprocal basis and be applied 
equally for all countries.

The State Bank has traversed a long way in liberalization of 
foreign ownership of commercial banks and foreign bank branching 
policies. It has allowed Arab investors to acquire majority stakes 
in smaller commercial banks, waiving the eligibility of maximum 
holding of 5 per cent shares for an individual in a commercial 
bank. These banks include Faysal, Gulf Commercial (now acquired by 
PICIC) and Al-Falah.

An old policy to allow foreign banks to operate in Pakistan on 
reciprocal basis, however, stays. A foreign bank is given licence 
to start operations if a local bank is permitted to start business 
in the country of origin of the concerned foreign bank.

Sources say that the central bank's policy on bank ownership is 
pretty cautious, given the fact that the economy is over-banked and 
suffers from weak financial institutions.

When contacted, the president of a local private bank said that in 
the current economic scenario, the appetite of any foreign bank for 
making investment was in the range of $5-10 million dollars. If 
they want to take over any of the leading nationalized commercial 
banks, at least $200-300 million dollar is required.

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20010408
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Chinese team holds trade talks
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ahmad Hasan Alvi

ISLAMABAD, April 7: The Chinese Vice-Minister for Foreign Trade and 
Economic Cooperation, An Min, assured on Saturday that Pakistan and 
China would continue efforts for bringing about economic stability 
in the region.

Talking to Communication Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi, he said China 
would continue extending cooperation to Pakistan in different 
sectors of economic progress, which, he added, would strengthen 
mutual relations.

Mr An, heading a delegation, exchanged views with the minister 
about development of the communications sector, shipping, etc. 
Heads of the various departments accompanied the vice-minister.

The Chinese minister pointed out that many companies were engaged 
in completing the national highway projects in Pakistan. He 
emphasized the need for extending cooperation in the communications 
sector and said that Pakistan had a long coastal area which the 
Chinese engineer could help to develop.

He elaborated that the Chinese companies were engaged in completing 
the Indus Highway, Chablat-Nowshera project and Karachi Northern 
Bypass. Likewise, he said, Chinese were working in the shipping 
sector.

Welcoming the delegation, Ashraf Qazi said Pakistan and China were 
coming closer together with the passage of time. China, he pointed 
out, had always supported Pakistan in international affairs.

The forthcoming visit of the Chinese prime minister would prove to 
be a great success and bilateral relations would be strengthened, 
he hoped.

The two countries were cooperating in the economic sector, 
including mercantile shipping, said the minister, adding that the 
Chinese cooperation in developing the communications sector was 
laudable.

The communication minister said the government of Pakistan was 
encouraging to initiate projects on the BOT (Built, Operate, 
Transfer) basis. The quadrilateral agreement had already been 
signed which provided for highway trade between China, Central 
Asian States and Pakistan, he said.

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20010413
-------------------------------------------------------------------
More will be taxed next year: Slabs being reduced, says Shaukat
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ihtashamul Haque

ISLAMABAD, April 12: The government has decided not to impose new 
taxes in the next budget in order to offer certain relief to 
people, said Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Speaking at a news conference here on Thursday, he said budget 
preparations have begun and initially it has been decided not to 
burden people with new taxes. "Rather we are planning to reduce the 
number of federal and provincial taxes," he added.

The finance minister said there were four federal taxes which were 
being reduced along with a number of provincial taxes. "We do not 
believe in increasing taxes, instead we are opting for gradually 
broadening the tax base by bringing more people into the tax net," 
he said.

He said duty structure was being rationalised as there would be 
four slabs instead of five slabs in the next budget. And there will 
be a 30 per cent maximum duty on these slabs. There will be less 
duty on raw material while more duty will be on finished goods. The 
purpose, he said, was to make the domestic industry competitive and 
to provide relief.

The finance minister claimed that the number of taxpayers in the 
country had increased to 1.9 million which would reach two million 
by the end of this year. "This is a remarkable achievement," he 
asserted.

He also said 99 per cent revenue collection targets had been 
achieved for the first nine months of the current financial year. 
The minister said the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) collected Rs33 
billion in the month of March this year.

Giving details, Shaukat Aziz said the CBR has collected Rs277 
billion against the target of Rs279.3 billion in the first nine 
months of 2000-2001. He said Rs86.9 billion were collected through 
direct taxes against the target of Rs86.1 billion, Rs108 billion 
were collected against the target of Rs111 billion in Sales Tax, 
Rs35 billion in central excise duty against the target of Rs36 
billion, and Rs46 billion were collected in customs duty against 
the target of Rs45 billion.

"So overall there is a 15 per cent increase in revenues during the 
first nine months of the current financial year," Aziz said.

He said tax collection had increased from Rs200 billion to Rs300 
billion in five years (1995-99). While additional revenue worth 
Rs39 billion was managed by the present government only in 1999-
2000 and as such there was an all-time high of 13 per cent 
increase.

"Now this increase has reached to 15 per cent in the first nine 
months and we expect more increases during the last quarter of 
2000-2001," Shaukat Aziz said.

This year, he said, the government was hoping to collect additional 
Rs70 billion which would again be an all-time high revenue increase 
in the history of Pakistan. "And we are not increasing our revenues 
by harassing the people but by gradually convincing them to pay 
their dues in the larger national interest," he added.

The finance minister said the government has collected Rs277 
billion in the first nine months of current financial year against 
Rs241 billion of corresponding period last year.

He said the government has paid refunds to the tune of Rs45 billion 
which has nothing to do with the revenue collection figures. There 
has been an increase of 6 per cent in refund payments this year.

Talking about the tax survey campaign, the finance minister said 
that out of total 1.8 million forms circulated to the public, 1.5 
million have returned to the CBR after having been duly filled.

Shaukat Aziz told a reporter that incorrect reports were carried by 
a couple of newspapers and a weekly alleging that Secretary Task 
Force on Tax Administration Mr Ahmad Khan was involved in 
corruption or had committed any irregularity in hiring private 
consultants. "The secretary health has conducted a thorough inquiry 
and exonerated Mr Khan of false charges," the finance minister 
said, hoping that people would avoid levelling baseless allegations 
against competent and honest officers of the CBR.

He said there has been a massive increase of 53.14 per cent in 
stock and turnover income declared by 27,800 business outlets in 13 
major cities of Pakistan. 

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20010412
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Clearance in 90 days: 50-70% demurrage waived on shipments
-------------------------------------------------------------------

ISLAMABAD, April 11: The government on Wednesday announced waiver 
of 50 to 70 per cent demurrage charges on all the consignments, 
lying uncleared at ports for the last five years.

To avail the relaxation, all these consignments of both, the public 
sector as well as private sector organizations will have to be 
cleared within three months after which they will be auctioned.

The uncleared consignments of public and private sector of over 
five years may be auctioned straightaway.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the Federal Cabinet 
presided over by Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf.

The meeting was earlier informed that a large quantity of 
machinery, equipment and other cargo imported by the provincial 
governments, ministries/divisions, public sector corporations and 
private sector consignees is lying uncleared at the ports for years 
together.

In certain cases the consignments have been disowned by the 
importers including public sector organizations. Some uncleared 
public sector consignments date back to 1972.

The meeting was informed that in addition to causing congestion at 
ports and depriving the port authorities from receiving charges, it 
also results in the loss of public revenue due to non-receipt to 
import taxes and duties.

Furthermore, non-utilization of the imported goods causes 
irreparable loss to the economy.

The cabinet, therefore, decided to give substantial waiver on the 
demurrage charges for the clearance of such consignments within 
three months after which they will be auctioned.

The proceeds of auction shall be shared by the customs and the 
port(s) in accordance with the existing rules and regulations.

Disowned consignments of public/private organizations may be 
auctioned by the customs straightaway. The condition of destruction 
and distribution of sale proceeds and exemption of banned items 
from auction shall mutatis mutandis apply to these consignments.

Storage charges payable by public sector organizations for the 
already cleared consignments should be paid to the two ports within 
a period of two months.

Public sector organizations should open Let Pass Deposit (LPD) 
Account so that the ports could promptly receive its dues and 
charges at the time of clearance of the consignments.-APP

Our Staff Reporter adds:Sources said that Gen Pervez Musharraf was 
given a briefing by Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz on the 
prevailing economicsituation.

The Cabinet was told that rupee was gaining strength against dollar 
and that it was only possible when the officials of the ministry of 
finance forced the concerned people to bring dollar from Dubai. 
They had earlier created what was termed "artificial strength of 
dollar" by not transmitting their dollars from Duabi and other 
parts of UAE.

The meeting was told that except for revenues, the government has 
met the performance criteria of the IMF to receive remaining two 
tranches of the Standby Loan by September this year.

Sources said that the Chief Executive will be given on Thursday a 
special briefing on telecommunication, revenues, National Highway 
Authority (NHA) with special reference to building of motorways, 
shipping and railways.

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20010412
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Rupee volatile in inter-bank market: Gains further in kerb
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, April 11: After making an impressive recovery in the first 
two days of the week, the rupee on Wednesday started losing grounds 
against the US dollar in inter-bank market.

Bankers said the rupee finished at 59.80/59.85 to a dollar at the 
close of business on Wednesday at 1:30pm. But it fell to 60.45 in 
deals made thereafter, in next-day value as commercial demand for 
dollars went up and banks refrained from panic selling of 
greenbacks.

On Tuesday the rupee had closed at 60.40/60.45 to a dollar at 
1:30pm but later on, it had risen substantially and was traded as 
high as 59.65 to a dollar showing an appreciation of 1.8 per cent 
overnight.

Bankers said what had helped the rupee make a big recovery on 
Tuesday was additional inflow of dollars through export proceeds, 
remittances from overseas Pakistanis as well as corporate loans.

On Wednesday additional inflow of export dollars continued as the 
April 14 deadline set for the exporters to bring in overdue exports 
drew closer. But at the same time, the demand for dollars went up 
on corporate buyings in the later part of the day. Hence the 
volatility in inter-bank foreign exchange deals.

According to Forex Association of Pakistan the rupee closed at 
62.75/62.90 to a dollar in the open market for spot buying and 
selling, posting a gain of 20 paisa overnight. But people reported 
the dollar selling at more than Rs63 at several exchange houses.

President of Forex Association of Pakistan, Malik Bostan claimed 
that the association had sold $15 million in open market in past 
two days to stabilize the rupee. But he declined to name the money 
changers who sold dollars on behalf of the association.

Senior bankers said banks stopped panic-selling of dollars in 
inter-bank market on Wednesday that forced the rupee to lose part 
of the strength it had gathered against the US dollar on Tuesday.

What had forced some banks to start panic-selling of dollars was a 
reminder issued by the State Bank that it was not going to extend 
the April 14 deadline set for the exporters to bring in their 
overdue export proceeds. Treasurers of leading local and foreign 
banks said the panic-selling had to stop in any case as most banks 
knew that the banking system could not see more than $50-$60 
million additional inflow through inflow of overdue export proceeds 
by April 14.

The State Bank officials believe total overdue export bills range 
between $600-$650 million but they admit that the major chunk of 
this amount is not realisable as it involves overdue cases 
accumulating since 1947.

Banking experts say hardly $100-$120 million of overdue bills can 
be classified as technically realisable but they doubt that the 
entire amount might not come into the system by April 14.

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20010411
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Conditional World Bank loan for gas pipelines
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, April 10: Pakistan will have to establish that its gas 
sector could meet country's power sector demand on a sustainable 
basis to qualify for the assistance from World Bank for the 
development of private sector gas pipelines, learnt Dawn.

The four-member fact finding mission of the World Bank on 
Pakistan's gas pipelines started its deliberations here on Tuesday. 
The mission comprising Marc Heitner, Waqar Haider, Rashid Aziz and 
Ralph G. Schwimmbeck held separate meetings with the Secretary 
Petroleum, Abdullah Yousaf; Director General Gas Khalid Naseem; 
Director General Petroleum Concessions Shahid Ahmad; Senior Joint 
Secretary Water and Power Engineer Syed Ibrahim Shah; and 
representative of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) 
Katsumi Uchida.

The mission was told that the current gas requirement in the 
country's power sector is estimated at around 1200 MMCFD (million 
cubic feet per day). This included 300 MMCFD in Karachi Electric 
Supply Company (KESC) and 900 MMCFD in Wapda system. The demand in 
power sector is estimated to go up by two to three times in next 10 
years, official sources told Dawn.

Against this demand, total gas supply estimates including from new 
discoveries have been estimated at around 1000 MMCFD. In this 
situation, it was premature to establish gas sector's ability to 
meet even current requirement of around 1200 MMCFD of natural gas 
in the power sector, sources said.

The government in collaboration with private sector will have to 
carry out detailed studies whether the gas reserves were enough to 
meet power sector demand so that multinational pipeline companies 
and international financiers could be attracted for the development 
of pipeline system.

The World Bank mission is here to assist Pakistan in developing 
private sector gas pipelines through multinational energy firms and 
international financiers to link its power and industrial sector 
with the untapped gas reserves.

The mission, will look into measures on how private gas pipelines 
could introduced optimally in Pakistan and to develop the necessary 
policy framework including issues relating to Gas Regulatory 
Authority (GRA).

The bank is of the view that infrastructure bottlenecks, 
particularly gas pipelines prevent Pakistan from taking full 
advantage of its recent gas discoveries and to substitute for fuel 
oil which is imported at a high cost for use in thermal power 
plants.

It believed that while the government is to take some more time to 
restructure and privatize Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL) 
and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), one way of accelerating 
development is to introduce the concept of private gas pipelines 
into Pakistan, preferably in such a way that the government does 
not bear the commercial risks, sources added.

The ministry of petroleum and natural resource is of the view that 
private sector investments in gas pipelines and related 
infrastructure could be facilitated through the World Bank 
assistance in developing the necessary policy framework. The 
government has already approved a Rs20 billion development plan for 
two gas utilities (SNGPL and SSGC) to develop infrastructure to add 
natural gas intakes from new fields and its transmission to the 
power stations.

The mission will suggest, at the end of the visit, measures to 
optimally introduce private pipelines in Pakistan and policy 
changes and a number of options to proceed further on the subject.

The mission, in its 10-day visit, will also hold talks with 
ministers of finance and petroleum, secretary general finance, 
heads of all local and international oil and gas companies 
operating in Pakistan besides Chairman Wapda Lt Gen Zulfiqar Ali 
Khan, chiefs of Hub Power Company, Kot Addu Thermal Power Company, 
AES and Rousch Power. Heads of Citibank Pakistan, J.P. Morgan, ABN-
Amro will also be involved in these deliberations.

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20010411
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Textile manufacture exports drop by 3pc
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Muhammad Ilyas

ISLAMABAD, April 10: The share of exports of textile manufactures 
in overall merchandise exports dropped by about three per cent to 
62.44 per cent during the period July-March 2000-01 as compared to 
the corresponding period of previous year.

One of the factors, according to an analysis of the official 
foreign trade statistics, was the continued downward trend of unit 
prices in the world market. Although this is true of all the major 
categories of export goods, the trend is especially pronounced in 
respect of the category "textile manufactures" in view of its 
predominant position in the export business of Pakistan.

The exports during the period under report totalled $6.71 billion, 
8.34 per cent more than in July-March, 1999-00. Of this, 86.66 per 
cent was the contribution of manufactured items. This indicates a 
slight decline from the corresponding period of previous year when 
their share in total exports was 87.03 per cent.

Within the category "manufactured exports", the share of textile 
manufactures was 72.05 per cent, down about three per cent from 
previous year. This brings into focus the abnormally high 
dependency of exports on textile manufactures. The fragility of 
Pakistan's exports is further highlighted by the increasing 
competition faced by our textile exports in the world market that 
forced down the unit prices.

Cumulatively, the exports of textile manufactures inched up by 3.48 
per cent during the 9-month period under report over the comparable 
period of previous year. But when looking at their performance for 
the month of March, the picture is far from bright; for in that 
month, textile manufactures fell by 0.34 per cent.

According to the statistics, the export of cotton yarn went up by 
6.40 per cent to 394,828 metric tons in July-March 2000-01, but due 
to 5.71 per cent drop in the average price, the foreign exchange 
earned was increased by only 0.37 per cent. Consequently, the share 
of cotton yarn in textile manufacture exports declined to 18.60 per 
cent from 19.18 per cent in the corresponding period of previous 
year.

Likewise, the quantitative export of all the major items of textile 
manufactures category registered an upward trend. Thus, cotton 
fabrics went up by 8.99 per cent, knitwear by 5.34 per cent, 
bedwear by 9.61 per cent, towels by 35.20 per cent, readymade 
garments by 12.28 per cent, synthetic tex. fabrics by 41.97 per 
cent and waste material of textile fibres/fabrics by 15.87 per 
cent. With the sole exception of knitwear, the foreign exchange 
these items fetched was much lower, thanks to reduced unit price.

All the other categories of exports improved their contribution to 
overall exports during the period under review. Most heartening was 
the performance of "Other Manufactures" whose share in overall 
exports at the end of March was 16.03 per cent, as compared to 
14.52 per cent in the corresponding period of previous year.

But 19.61 per cent increase in their exports is the result of 
significant performance during the preceding months. For during the 
month of March, their exports registered a decline of 5.42 per 
cent, thus showing consistency with the slowing trend of Pakistan's 
exports.

Cumulatively, however, exports of carpets increased by 19.39 per 
cent in terms of volumes and by 6.20 per cent in dollars. Thanks to 
rise in world prices, the exports of petroleum & petroleum products 
rose by 75.82 per cent for a quantitative increase of 46.06 per 
cent.

Leather manufactures continued on top with exports worth $323.50 
million, accounting for more than one-third of exports of Other 
Manufactures. Compared with corresponding period of previous year, 
this is 28.40 per cent higher.

The only item in this category, which declined during the period 
under review was Sports Goods (-1.43 per cent). As regards other 
items, the exports (in US dollars) of surgical & medical 
instruments increased by 3.90 per cent, cutlery by 9.63 per cent, 
onyx manufactures by 31.07 per cent and chemical & pharmaceutical 
products by 67.43 per cent.

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20010410
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Exports of merchandise fall short of target
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Muhammad Ilyas

ISLAMABAD, April 9: Merchandise exports of Pakistan fell short of 
the target by 7.85 per cent, during the first three-quarters of 
fiscal 2000-01.

According to foreign trade statistics released by the Federal 
Bureau of Statistics (FBS) here on Monday, exports during the 
period July-March, 2000-01, amounted to $6.71 billion as against 
the target of $10 billion for the whole year.

At the end of the period, therefore, the country will have to raise 
its exports to $1.09 billion per month in order to come at par with 
the target. This, however, seems difficult because in the first 
nine months of the year, the exports averaged $746.16 million per 
month. The prospects are further rendered bleak because the exports 
performance indicates a slowdown during the month of March - thanks 
to bureaucratic lethargy evident in the working of the ministry of 
commerce as well as in its protege, the Export Promotion Bureau. At 
$726.99 million during the month, it is even lower than the monthly 
average of the nine months under review.

As compared to the period July-March, 1999-00, the exports during 
the first nine months of current financial year show a growth rate 
of 8.34%. This is, however, more due to the performance of the 
preceding months than any momentous achievement in the ninth month, 
an analysis of the trade statistics indicates.

In spite of what the ministry may claim as "impressive" 
performance, the trade deficit increased by 1.23 per cent in terms 
of dollars and by 11.51 per cent in those of local currency, 
showing rapid decline in the value of the rupee due to the policy 
of letting it float at the mercy of the speculators.

The imbalance at the end of the 9-month period under review stood 
at $1.31 billion. In local currency, it amounted to Rs75.11 
billion.

At this rate, it is feared, the trade deficit may touch the $2 
billion mark in the remaining quarter of the year.

The government, it will be recalled, had set a target of $800 
million for trade deficit during the current financial year. The 
country, however, find itself saddled with a trade imbalance 
already 64 per cent ahead of the target for the whole year.

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20010414
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Bandwidth tariffs further reduced
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

ISLAMABAD, April 13: PTCL management and Ministry of Science and 
Technology agreed on Friday to further reduce international and 
domestic leased line and bandwidth tariffs.

The decision was in line with the objective of the government to 
promote Information Technology, its education, software 
development, its export and IT related services.

The new tariffs would be one of the lowest in South Asia and Far 
East.

The new reduction brings the bandwidth prices to just half of 
prices announced in September 2000 for Internet Service Providers 
(ISPs) and corporate sector and 1/5th only for software, education 
and specialized IT related services.

The PTCL had reduced its bandwidth tariff upto 25 per cent for 
2Mbit Full Circuit via SMW-3 for ISPs upto Singapore/UK from 
monthly charges of US $40,000 to US $30,000. Like-wise reduction in 
bandwidth tariff upto 25 per cent for 2Mbit have been made. Now 
Full Circuit via SMW-3 for EMIX have been brought down from monthly 
charges of US $30,000 to US $22,500.

New rate reduction is over and above the 53 per cent and 25 per 
cent reductions already announced in May and September, 2000 by the 
government.

This new measure shall be beneficial for all Internet end-users and 
overall IT industry players.

PTCL hoped that the ISPs will ultimately pass-on the benefit of 
rate reduction to the end-users.

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20010410
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Rupee makes swift recovery
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Mohiuddin Aazim

KARACHI, April 9: The rupee on Monday gained 30 paisa against the 
US dollar in inter-bank market due to increased supply of 
greenbacks amidst low demand. The rupee closed at 61.40/61.45 to a 
dollar against the previous close of 61.70/61.75 for buying and 
selling.

Bankers said the local currency showed even more strength in later 
part of the day when it was quoted at 61.30 to a US dollar for next 
day transactions.

In the open market, the rupee gained 10 paisa to close at 63.90 
/64.00 to a dollar for spot buying and selling reflecting the trend 
in inter-bank market.

Bankers said there was enough supply of dollars in inter-bank 
market on Monday that helped the rupee recover part of its lost 
value against the dollar.

They said the market received an additional inflow of $20-$25 
million both in the form of export bills and invisible receipts 
that pushed the rupee up. Invisible receipts include remittances of 
overseas Pakistanis; foreign investment and repatriable loans etc. 
But it could not be learnt which of these categories saw the 
largest chunk of inflows.

Besides the demand for dollars was relatively low as foreign debt 
payments by state-run organizations and corporates had come to an 
end. Normally foreign debt payments of all kinds go up at every 
quarter-end putting pressure on the local currency. End- March was 
no exception. Thus the rupee remained on the slide last month 
losing some worth against the greenback almost everyday.

Between January-March this year the rupee depreciated by about 
seven per cent against the dollar that brought the total loss it 
suffered since its July 20 free-float to more than 17 per cent.

The rupee on Monday made the first major recovery in several weeks 
after hitting a record low of 61.80 to a dollar in inter- bank 
market late last week. During the past few weeks the rupee kept 
falling against the dollar not only due to foreign debt payments of 
all kinds but also because exporters stayed away from bringing in 
overdue export bills.

Since the April 14 deadline set for bringing in overdue export 
bills is only a few days away exporters have started selling part 
of such bills. Senior bankers estimate an additional inflow of a 
few hundred million dollars in the form of overdue export bills.

Selling of overdue export bills was one of the factors that 
enhanced supply of dollars in inter-bank market on Monday. Such was 
the inflow of additional supply of dollars that a leading American 
bank alone sold $15-$18 million in inter-bank market.

In addition to low demand and increased supply of dollars what else 
made the rupee recover strength on Monday was that the inter -bank 
market was extremely short of liquidity after a few weeks.

Bankers said that banks had to borrow Rs 9 billion overnight from 
the State Bank to cover their positions: Overnight call rate also 
remained almost pegged to 13 per cent.

Liquidity shortage enhances demand for the rupee and raises the 
cost of dollar holdings thus resulting in higher supply of 
greenbacks in the market. The opposite of it happens when the 
market is highly liquid.

Back to the top
EDITORIALS & FEATURES
20010408
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Leghari and the storming   
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Ardeshir Cowasjee

THE story of the storming of the Supreme Court on Friday November 
28, 1997, by ministers, parliamentarians, and supporters of the 
second government of Mian Nawaz Sharif is a subject upon which all 
those who were members of the executive, legislature, and judiciary 
at that point in time do not care to dwell.

That same sorry day, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali 
Shah, the main object of the storming, wrote to President Farooq 
Ahmed Khan Leghari narrating the facts of the incident, requesting 
him to take action under Article 190 of the Constitution and 
provide security cover for the court and its judges by calling in 
the army for their protection. 

 He also narrated how "a Judge of this Court", Justice Saeeduzzaman 
Siddiqui, had overstepped his mark by hearing petitions which he 
should not have heard without the authority of the Chief Justice, 
how he had passed administrative orders without proper 
authorization, and how he, with some of his brethren acquiescing, 
had deliberately caused a division amongst the judges of the apex 
court of the land. He asked the president to take the necessary 
steps for action against Siddiqui by the Supreme Judicial Council.

The president the following day addressed a letter to Prime 
Minister Nawaz Sharif, enclosing a copy of the Chief Justice's 
letter and called upon him to act under Article 190 of the 
Constitution and order the army to provide security cover to the 
court and its judges, and to also initiate proceedings for 
misconduct against Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui.

The prime minister responded the same day with a long rambling 
letter declining both requests. Sufficient security had already 
been provided, he stated, and thus calling in the army was not 
necessary. And to his mind there was no justification in taking any 
action against Justice Siddiqui [who later was to be his favoured 
Chief Justice] merely because Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had so 
demanded.

On May 9, 1998, I filed an application in the Supreme Court before 
the bench constituted to inquire into the matter of the storming 
which, inter alia, read: "As per the Court's direction to my 
request that certain concerned and relevant persons whose 
statements would enlighten the court be summoned to testify 
regarding the November, 28, 1997, storming of the Supreme Court, I 
herewith submit my application listing suggested names." The first 
name on my list was that of "former President of Pakistan Farooq 
Leghari, who is well aware of the facts leading up to the assault 
upon the Supreme Court, as well as the facts relating to the actual 
assault."

The bench, for whatever unfathomable reasons, did not consider it 
necessary to summon Leghari. The stance of the three judges was 
that if Leghari wished to appear and give evidence he should apply 
in writing and they would then consider his application.

This Leghari did not do.

The matter dragged on and on through the tenures of Chief Justices 
Ajmal Mian and Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui and the government of Nawaz 
Sharif. When Justice Irshad Hassan Khan took over as Chief Justice 
last year under this military government he revived the matter in 
September, a thousand days down the road, and ordered the Islamabad 
Inspector-General of Police to institute an inquiry to be conducted 
by a Superintendent of Police "to identify the miscreants involved 
in this incident and thereafter proceed in accordance with the 
law."

The results of such an inquiry and the tracing of the masterminds 
could have well been anticipated. On March 25 this year a story in 
the national press, dateline Islamabad, told us that the inquiry 
team "filed a sketchy report and that too, too late, reportedly 
because of political considerations to engineer the restructuring 
of the ousted ruling party." Reportedly the interior ministry had 
refused access to Mushahid Hussain and Saifur Rahman, both 
incarcerated at the time, and their plan to request that Nawaz 
Sharif be produced for interrogation was thwarted by his exile to 
Saudi Arabia.

The 23-page report sent to the Supreme Court was incomplete, and 
largely a complaint about the inability of the investigating 
officers, due to the non-cooperation of the government, to 
interview any of the leading masterminds behind the planning and 
execution of the storming.

Coincidentally, on March 19, Farooq Leghari addressed an audience 
here in Karachi at a seminar organized by the Helpline Trust. He 
very frankly and openly spoke out, with no holds barred, about how 
one main aim of both the second governments of Benazir Bhutto and 
Nawaz Sharif, during both of which he was president of the 
Republic, was to get the better of the judiciary and put the judges 
in what they considered to be their rightful place.

His reminiscences and recollections of his presidential period were 
recorded. He unequivocally stated that they both intended to do 
whatever they could do to "subjugate the judiciary and to do away 
with the concept of the supremacy of the rule of law". 

 Leghari related how on the night of November 27/28, 1997, Nawaz 
Sharif accompanied by COAS Jehangir Karamat, National Assembly 
Speaker Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro, Senate Chairman Wasim Sajjad, and Law 
Minister Khalid Anwer came to see him and advised him to denotify 
Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and appoint Ajmal Mian in his place.

The cassette recording is being forwarded to the Chief Justice of 
Pakistan. The case is still open and it is very necessary that the 
Supreme Court examine former President Farooq Leghari under oath 
and finally come to a conclusion as to the part played in the whole 
sordid episode by the leaders of a government in power, by certain 
judges of the court itself, by the then sitting Senator Rafiq Ahmed 
Tarrar who now occupies Aiwan-e-Sadar, and by leading members of 
the legal fraternity.

The very least that the law can do is to disqualify Nawaz Sharif, 
his entire cabinet, and all others belonging to whatever pillar of 
the state, who were responsible for masterminding, engineering, and 
storming the Supreme Court, from holding any office for at least 
ten years. Do we want such elements to rule over us again or to 
hold any positions of power? No country can prosper or progress 
unless law and order is enforced and prevails.

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20010413
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A midway balance sheet
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Ayaz Amir

AFTER a year and a half of untrammelled power, clearly there is 
much that is wrong with the Musharraf government, as indeed there 
would be with any mortal dispensation especially of the 
subcontinental variety.

The principal criticism that can be brought against it has to do 
with the limitations of the Pakistan army as a political 
institution. The fighting doctrine of the army rests on waging 
short and snappy wars. For anything lasting longer than 17 days it 
has not shown any convincing stamina. Yet the same army on assuming 
political power settles into a pace more appropriate to a lengthy 
war of attrition than to a short and decisive blitzkrieg.

Herein lies a paradox. A Cromwellian intervention can only be 
justified on the grounds that it will achieve swift results and cut 
through the nonsense of established procedures. But when instead of 
seeking vindication in swiftness a military government is like an 
elephant on the march, much of its rationale disappears.

But this important caveat notwithstanding, in important areas the 
Musharraf government could have done much worse. It could have 
taken the easy route of military repression. In knee-jerk fashion 
it could have suppressed press freedom. By succumbing to neither 
temptation it has achieved two purposes, albeit unwittingly. It has 
acquired a benign image for itself and gained an important window 
on public opinion.

In Pakistan's current milieu no clumsy or ill-conceived action of 
the government's goes unpunished. It is easy to think that a 
military government has a thick hide and is impervious to what 
people say about it. But this impression is false. Criticism wounds 
and fierce criticism damages self-esteem. To the extent that the 
generals have taken often savage criticism on their chins, and have 
even modified their behaviour under its impact, the credit goes to 
them.

In what respects has behaviour been modified? Consider these few 
examples. Lt-Gen Haider, the interior minister, is less free with 
his shoot-from-the-hip declarations about curbing this and 
suppressing that. Realizing the fiasco of the tax survey drive of 
last summer, the military government is less keen to ruffle the 
feathers of the business community, even as it continues to play 
ball with the IMF. The change of guard at the National 
Accountability Bureau is a step in the same direction.Towards the 
religious parties and so-called jihadi outfits the government's 
tone has changed. While the Afghan and Kashmir policies remain 
intact, the government is less willing to be blackmailed by these 
outfits. There is also a blushing realization in government 
quarters that spurious religious knights like the Pontiff of Munara 
have made a monkey of the government besides giving the country a 
bad international image.

As far as relations with India are concerned, Musharraf, with his 
repeated calls for a dialogue, sounds very much the peacenik. Gone 
is the hawkish stridency which he displayed soon after coming to 
power. In the light of this change it is not far-fetched to say 
that the Kargil Boys have come out of the shadows of that doomed 
adventure. To the extent that this outcome reveals anything, it is 
the mental resilience of Pakistan's Commando-General.

Does this mean Pakistan is out of the woods? Certainly not. But it 
means that from the depressing lows of last summer and winter the 
Musharraf government's graph has risen. While all is not well (when 
is it ever?), this much at least can be hazarded that just as the 
initial hopes attached to the military takeover were exaggerated, 
the later debunking of the Musharraf government was likewise an 
exercise in premature wishfulness.

True, in many respects this government continues to act like a 
college of innocents. But as time passes there seems to be a method 
to its simplicity. As that maiden whose name was Bholi (Innocent) 
said to the gentleman whose advances left little doubt about his 
intentions, "I may be Bholi but not that bholi."

Consider in the above context the fury that seized the Moral Middle 
Class when Nawaz Sharif and kin were packed off into exile. 
Steaming with indignation, its members felt betrayed. We are an 
impulsive people and one of our more pronounced traits is to rush 
to judgment. Distance lends perspective, however. So it has proved 
in the case of Nawaz Sharif's exile. He and his family have saved 
their skins by opting for flight over resistance. But they have 
done grievous harm to their political standing. Is any fight left 
in the PML-N? And what about the Alliance for the Restoration of 
Democracy? The wind has been taken out of its sails.

Much has also been made of the Supreme Court's partial relief to 
Benazir and Zardari in the SGS-Cotecna reference with the case now 
remanded for retrial. But Benazir is no fool and realizes that 
unless the decks are completely cleared she cannot risk coming to 
Pakistan. In any event, in recent days she has made placatory 
noises about the military. But is the Musharraf government under 
any compulsion to accept her overtures? With the political field 
desiccated, the Muslim League split and the PPP rudderless, the 
initiative lies squarely with the generals and not Pakistan's 
demoralized and discredited politicians.In a recent article 
Pakistan's other great innocent, Imran Khan, has complained that 
the ban on outdoor political activity inhibits the ability of the 
smaller parties, like his Tehrik-i-Insaf, to emerge as alternatives 
to the established political order. Obviously, Imran does not know 
his history well. The founding of the PPP in 1967, and its 
subsequent emergence as a major political force, occurred against 
the backdrop of far severer restrictions than exist at present. 
While touring the country Bhutto could address only indoor meetings 
without the help of loudspeakers. In the press his voice was barely 
heard. Yet, despite these limitations, he managed a feat of 
political mobilization which remains unmatched to this day.

If people are not willing to listen to the political parties, whose 
fault is it? Pakistan faces not only a crisis of leadership but 
also one of faith and trust. The old idols have broken down and 
there is nothing to take their place.

This does not mean the Musharraf government has all the answers. In 
many respects it remains a bungling dispensation, learning on the 
job and indulging in costly experimentation. But the initiative is 
with it. When it gives its political award who will oppose it? What 
have the political parties to offer? At a time when the political 
parties are hard-pressed to define their relevance, does it behove 
them to talk of exit strategies for the military? They should be 
thinking of survival strategies for themselves.

But the most burning question of all remains. Although we know who 
is winning the on-going war of attrition, for whose benefit is it 
being fought: the army or the people? The army's political victory 
means nothing if the country's condition does not turn. Suppose 
Musharraf is in power not just for the next year and a half but for 
much longer. (To think how long Ayub and Zia remained at the helm 
of affairs is enough to send a shudder down the toughest spine.) 
But if he rules and nothing else much changes what will be the 
point of it all?  

 If this government has a benign and liberal face, it is an 
accident of history related to the personalities of this coup 
rather than to anything deep-rooted in the army. Unchecked rule by 
anyone has spelt disaster for Pakistan before. We don't need to go 
down that route again.

Musharraf is moving towards civilianization or a form of it. The 
Supreme Court's order stressing elections within three years is a 
deadline the generals must meet, for their own good if for nothing 
else. But will this civilianization be quick enough? Will it be 
inclusive enough? Will it satisfy Pakistan's quest for a polity 
both stable and democratic? This is the test before the country as 
also before Musharraf's College of (well-meaning) Innocents. 

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20010414
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The vandals of Wah      
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Irfan Husain

LEGEND has it that Mughal Emperor Babar camped overnight on the 
Grand Trunk Road on his way to Kashmir for the summer. The next 
morning, as he saw the natural spring-fed pools and orchards before 
him, he uttered a spontaneous "Wah!" in appreciation of the idyllic 
setting.

The name stuck, and today Wah is associated with images of its 
cool, crystal-clear springs and its formal Mughal garden. 
Unfortunately, if Babar were to pass by Wah today, he would not 
want to spend an instant there: the nearby Dhamra River is running 
a sickly orange, while white powder drains into it from an adjacent 
marble works, and a huge hotel-cum-petrol station is coming up on 
the river bank. All day long, intermittent explosions can be heard 
as the surrounding hills are blasted for rocks to crush into 
aggregate for construction as well as for nearby cement factories. 
However, these blasts have to compete for attention with the loud 
cacophony created by pressure horns used by buses and wagons as 
they hurtle between Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

Thus do we destroy things and places we should preserve and 
cherish. Like a barbarian horde devastating everything in its path, 
we are systematically playing havoc with the natural beauty and the 
historical sites we have inherited. Nothing is sacred, nothing 
sacrosanct. While the Taliban deliberately destroy masterpieces, we 
do so through neglect and blind avarice. At the end of the day, the 
manner of destruction matters little; the fact of it does.

Any civilized society seeks to care for its patrimony and pass it 
on to the next generation undamaged and unspoiled. It does so not 
just for altruistic and aesthetic reasons, but for straight 
commercial ones as tourism now plays a major role in the economies 
of many countries fortunate enough to have inherited the remnants 
of ancient civilizations. We in Pakistan have been richly blessed 
with ruins going back thousands of years.

>From the prehistoric site being excavated at Mehargarh to the 
complex Indus River civilization to the highly cultured Gandhara 
period, there is an almost unbroken link with the distant past. In 
the subsequent period, we have the early Muslim culture culminating 
in the magnificent Mughal empire. Finally, we have the 
architecturally fascinating colonial buildings. All in all, this is 
as enviable an archaeological inheritance as anybody could hope 
for.

In terms of natural beauty, we have stunning mountain ranges, 
forests and lakes in the north; the rugged moonscapes and fabulous 
beaches of Balochistan; the bounteous plains of Punjab; and the 
ecologically rich mangroves and lakes full of migratory birds in 
Sindh. Few countries the size of Pakistan can match it in terms of 
the sheer diversity of natural features.

And what have we done with this amazing wealth? Like a spoiled 
child surrounded by expensive toys, we have proceeded to take a 
hammer to everything of value and beauty. While other countries 
with a fraction of our attractions draw millions of tourists who 
spend billions of dollars, we have managed to acquire such a 
negative image abroad that foreign governments issue travel 
advisories to their citizens to stay away from Pakistan.

Quite apart from the dangers and lack of facilities tourists face 
here, our archaeological sites are crumbling from sheer neglect. A 
prime example is the plight of the ancient city of Moenjodaro: 
despite receiving millions of dollars through a Unesco appeal, the 
unique site is threatened by salinity. Plastic shopping bags blight 
our mountains and our beaches. Archaeological sites are plundered 
at will, and some of our finest Gandhara statues are now abroad. 
Apparently, shards and artefacts from the millennia-old site at 
Mehargarh are now finding their way to antique shops in London and 
New York. The few tourists who do visit these shores complain of 
being harassed and gaped at by locals. Our killjoy laws and 
hypocritical social mores combine to make a visit to Pakistan a 
holiday from hell: foreigners accustomed to a glass of beer or wine 
with their meals cannot figure out why they should be denied these 
minor pleasures when they are quite prepared to pay for them. And 
given our lack of any kind of night life, they have nothing to do 
in the evenings.

Returning to Wah, my earliest memories of that once-magical place 
that so entranced Babar go fifty years back when I was taken there 
as a young boy by my parents. I can still remember the large fish 
gliding through the still, crystal-clear water of the small lake 
formed by natural springs. Until a few years ago, you could still 
catch mahsheer in the nearby Dhamra River. No more, alas. As nearby 
factories (including the Pakistan Ordnance Factories located a 
couple of miles away) release their noxious effluence into the 
atmosphere and the nearest body of water, the whole area is slowly 
dying. Until a few years ago, stone crushing plants were chewing up 
priceless Ghandara remains in Taxila valley itself, barely five 
miles from Wah.

Perhaps one reason I am so indignant at what is happening to, in 
and around Wah is that over the years, I have spent many memorable 
weekends there, enjoying my old friend Kamran Shafi's warm 
hospitality. Many is the time we turned up from Islamabad on a hot 
summer day and plunged into the chilly pool to cool off, bringing 
our refreshments into the water with us. In winter, we have spent 
many a convivial evening before a roaring wood fire. But 
conversations are frequently punctuated by the ubiquitous pressure 
horns from the motorway a stone's throw away.

While the government is so intrusive about so many other things, it 
has adopted a supine, laissez-faire attitude to all those busily 
polluting the air and the water. When Kamran wrote a series of 
articles against what was happening around him in a newspaper, an 
environmental inspector from the Punjab government finally turned 
up to ask what was bothering him. Annoyed, Kamran asked him to take 
a look around. Big mistake. In his place I would have practically 
written the man's report. In any event, no official action of any 
kind has been taken. Amazingly, the owner of the hotel under 
construction just by the bridge has built a wall in the river 
itself, thus diverting a stream of water towards a span of the 
bridge. When the river is high, the safety of the bridge could well 
be compromised, but nobody has asked the owner to stop.

The environment and our cultural heritage have been accorded the 
lowest possible priority by successive governments. For them, 
raising revenue is the be-all and end-all, and by allowing the 
unhindered exploitation (and consequent defilement) of our 
resources, they think Pakistan will achieve a higher level of 
development. Our leaders have never grasped the fact that by 
permitting individuals and companies to destroy our rivers and our 
coastline, our mountains and our lakes, we are losing something 
priceless and irreplaceable.

A few years from now, what will we tell our children when they ask 
us what happened to their inheritance?



SPORTS
20010414
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Pakistan complete double against Sri Lanka
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SHARJAH, April 13: Pakistan made sure of playing next Friday's 
final of the Sharjah Cup, when they beat Sri Lanka by 28 runs here 
on Friday. 

Chasing Pakistan's 279 for nine wickets, Sri Lanka could manage 
only 250 for eight wickets in their allotted fifty overs. 

The victory was Pakistan's third successive in the competitition 
and second consecutive against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka started off promisingly with openers Sanath Jayasuriya 
and Romesh Kaluwitharana hitting 48 runs by the seventh over, when 
skipper Jayasuriya was bowled by Waqar Younis for 20 off 23 balls.

The Sri Lankans, who had lost their earlier match against Pakistan 
by 16 runs, suffered another blow in the next over when 
Kaluwitharana (25 off 23 balls) was clean bowled by Kashif Raza, 
who is making his debut.

At two down for 49, Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene brought 
some solidity to the innings with a 54-stand for the third wicket 
before Jayawardene was snicked to wicketkeeper Humayun Farhat off 
Yasir Araft. Jayawardene made 31 off 39 balls.

At the half-way stage, Atapattu was batting on 32 while Russel 
Arnold was unbeaten on 19 as Sri Lanka required another 150 runs in 
as many balls.

 Earlier, Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-ul Haq had guided Pakistan to 278 
for nine.

The two men shared a third-wicket stand of 172 runs, with Anwar 
cracking a solid 88 off 99 balls with nine fours while Inzamam hit 
87 off 111 balls with seven fours and two sixes.

Both men also reached personal milestones in their spell at the 
crease, which helped Pakistan deliver the tournament's highest 
score so far.

Anwar, playing his 221st match, completed 8,000 runs when he was on 
72, becoming first the player in the process to score 2,000 runs in 
Sharjah in 47 matches.

Inzamam, matching Anwar stroke for stroke, also completed 2,000 
runs in this desert venue in 46 matches. Reuters

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20010413
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Afridi's desert storm sets up easy win for Pakistan
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SHARJAH, April 12: Pakistan rode on a scintillating start by Shahid 
Afridi and Imran Nazir to trounce New Zealand by eight wickets in 
the Sharjah tri-series here on Thursday.

The openers smashed 79 in the first seven overs during a 113-run 
partnership to help Pakistan surpass New Zealand's challenging 266-
7 with 7.5 overs to spare.

Veterans Saeed Anwar (81 not out) and Inzamam-ul Haq (71 not out) 
then added 157 for the unbroken third wicket to seal Pakistan's 
second successive win in preliminary league also featuring Sri 
Lanka.

Matthew Sinclair's maiden one-day century went in vain as the 
depleted Kiwis suffered their second defeat in three days and must 
now win both their return games to stay in contention for the April 
20 final.

Afridi raced to his half century off just 24 balls, taking 26 runs 
in one over from Grant Bradburn that included three sixes and two 
boundaries.

New Zealand, already without eight top stars including captain 
Stephen Fleming, were forced to play Bradburn when premier strike 
bowler Daryl Tuffey pulled out with an ankle injury.

Afridi and Nazir put on 100 by the 10th over, before both fell in 
the space of six deliveries to restore sanity to the proceedings.

Afridi, who took two wickets in New Zealand's innings, was caught 
at mid-on off Andre Adams in the 15th over after striking seven 
fours and six sixes in his 70 off 43 balls.

Nazir, who looked pedestrian in comparison despite a quickfire 35, 
was trapped leg-before by Brooke Walker.

Afridi's power-packed innings overshadowed a majestic 117 from 
Sinclair, his maiden one-day century after recording two double 
hundreds in Test cricket.

Sinclair, who made 60 against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, batted till the 
penultimate over to steer New Zealand to what appeared to be a safe 
score.

New Zealand made a flying start, reaching 71-2 by the 13th over.

Sinclair put on 45 for the first wicket with Chris Nevin in eight 
overs and then 80 for the third with skipper Craig McMillan.

McMillan hit 46 off 52 balls when he played on to Afridi, the sixth 
bowler employed by Pakistan to contain the run flow.

Afridi also trapped Lou Vincent leg-before to finish with two for 
49 from his stipulated 10 overs.

Chris Harris hit 29 off 35 balls towards the end, but Pakistan 
grabbed three wickets in the last two overs to ensure their target 
did not reach untenable levels.

The second round of the league starts on Friday with Pakistan 
taking on Sri Lanka. AFP

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20010412
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Miandad, Moin served show cause notices
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter

KARACHI, April 11: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has issued show 
cause notices to Javed Miandad and Moin Khan for violation of the 
code of conduct.

Miandad faces disciplinary action for his statement on the 
performance of the Pakistan team. Moin lashed out at the PCB for 
ignoring him during the tour to New Zealand.

Interestingly, Inzamam-ul-Haq has not been asked to explain his 
position on a statement in which he suggested to the board how to 
pick players in the team.

"According to the contract between the players and the 
establishment (PCB), the cricketers are not supposed to give 
controversial statement upto six months after the conclusion of the 
series," the PCB spokesman said.

The PCB also spelled out its policy of investigating Pakistan's 
poor performance in New Zealand.

He said it would be an internal inquiry with members comprising PCB 
officials. "There will be no committee members from outside. The 
analysis will be done after going through the reports of manager 
and the coach."

The spokesman added that the PCB has not received any summons from 
the Lahore High Court for April 28.

Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum, who investigated the charges of 
corruption in Pakistan cricket, has ordered Miandad to substantiate 
his allegations that the players deliberately threw matches in New 
Zealand.

Miandad vehemently denies giving the statement though he admits 
that he called for an inquiry to probe why the players under-
performed while he was coach.

Miandad made the call three days after he was removed as Pakistan 
coach after having been initially given the assignment until the 
2003 World Cup.

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